For robust and responsive global to national breeding systems producing and delivering novel varieties and allied innovations at appropriate scale and scope
What is the profile of medium duration and pest tolerant pigeonpea cultivar: MPPV 4(ICEAP 01551)?
Climate change is affecting smallholder farming in Zambia through frequent droughts and regular maize crop failures. Realizable yields in smallholder farming systems are quite low when compared to potential yields because of poor soil fertility due to continued mining of nutrients through crop harvests, removal of crop residues and widespread acidic soils in Zambia. Growing MPPV 4 can be a climate resilient variety in cereal-based cropping systems to mitigate effects of drought and improve soil health through Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF). The selected new pigeonpea cultivar MPPV 4 is suitable for both green and dry grain with 100 seed mass of 17-19 g. The variety is already popular with farmers who can access seed and expected to increase area in next couple of years through key partners.
What challenges does this innovative crop variety address?
Pigeonpea has gained popularity in semi-arid areas of eastern and central Zambia as a source of food and nutritional security. It also provides multiple benefits to cropping systems like its ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, nutrient recycling from deeper layers, inter-cropping compatibility with both cereals and legumes, soil and water conservation on sloppy lands and source of fuel wood.
Recent drought spells in Zambia resulted in farmers losing their maize crop. Intercropping with pigeonpea offers them an insurance against rainfall deficit both in quantity and spread during the crop growing season. Farmers in Zambia are aware of the beneficial effects of this multi-purpose legume crop. But most of them continue to grow old, very long duration varieties that are low yielding and susceptible to Fusarium wilt, under farmers’ practice conditions. However, only three high yielding were released earlier (1-long duration and 2-medium duration) by ZARI are not reaching smallholder farmers in Zambia, besides their high susceptibility to insect pests.
Partners and funders of this Innovation
The newly developed cultivar of pigeonpea was brought to the farmers through partnerships of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (CRP-GLDC), Zambia Agriculture Research Institute, Msekera Research Station, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Grant for Zambia.
Next steps to scale this Innovation
This medium duration and pest tolerant pigeonpea cultivar was released in Zambia as MPPV 4 (ICEAP 01551) for cultivation in the semi-arid regions of Zambia. The variety is already popular with farmers who are able to access seed and the area under its cultivation is expected to increase over the next couple of years through key partners. This innovative cultivar has been taken up by users as a Stage 4 and Maturity Level 3 innovation, i.e. policy and/or practice changes influenced by these new methods have led to adoption or impacts at scale or beyond the direct CGIAR sphere of influence. Among others this is evidenced by smallholder farmers in Eastern Zambia growing MPPV 4 as a climate resilient variety in cereal based cropping systems to mitigate effects of drought and improve soil health through BNF and phosphorus -mobilization through root exudates.
Author(s): Ramya Kulkarni (CRP-GLDC MEL Team).
Acknowledgment: This work was undertaken as part of, and funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (CRP-GLDC) and supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.